Although we’re living longer due to better health care and advances in medical science, we aren’t doing so in better health. 50 years ago many critical illnesses such as stroke, heart attack or cancer would have caused death, but here in the 21st century most people survive these illnesses (or live much longer after onset).
If an individual survives a critical illness and can return to work immediately, he or she may have to return to work immediately, even if the illness was attributable to their occupation. Unless the condition creates a clear-cut disability, the ability to return to work will often rule out a disability claim (from any and all sources). This will force the individual back to work soon after the critical illness, perhaps to the detriment of their long-term well-being.
In addition, the rising incidence of critical illness has placed stress on our health care system, resulting in wait lists for many potentially life-saving procedures. Health care for a critical illness is available outside the “normal” health care system (generally in another country) but at a significant cost to the individual.
Critical illness (CI) insurance pays a lump-sum benefit to the insured upon the diagnosis and subsequent survival of a critical illness (what exactly defines a “critical illness” differs by the insurer and policy chosen – most policies cover 10-20 such conditions).
CI insurance is therefore designed to fulfill one (or both) of these two purposes:
- To allow the insured to take time off work to improve their health and/or lifestyle (perhaps to avoid another critical illness). A year off following a critical illness may be recommended – CI insurance can make it possible. Early retirement following a critical illness may be advisable – CI insurance can make it possible.
- To provide the necessary funds for a medical procedure outside the “normal” health care system (following the onset of a critical illness). It could truly make the difference between life and death.
At Howe & Gramlich we listen to our clients. If our clients are concerned with the financial risk associated with a critical illness, we provide analysis, recommendations and solutions using CI insurance.